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Solo McKinley Climber Rides Out Earthquake
Wednesday, 26-Jan-2011 5:34PM United Press International
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Minnesota adventurer rode out a moderate earthquake while stuck in a snow-encased trench on Alaska's Mount McKinley, his expedition manager said.

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Tom Surprenant said Lonnie Dupre endured six days, including Saturday when a 5.4 magnitude temblor "scared the crap out of 1/8Dupre3/8", in a refrigerator-sized trench before descending 3,000 feet, the Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.

Dupre made use of an intermission in whiteout conditions to drop from 17,200 feet to his earlier camp at a more oxygen-rich 14,200, where he had stored fuel, food and a surplus sleeping bag.

"He said he's really tired and weak", Surprenant said.

Dupre, 49, of Grand Marais, Minn., began his ascent Jan. 7 intending to become the first solo climber to get to the 20,320-foot peak of Mount McKinley, the newspaper said.

He got to 17,200 feet on Jan. 19 but high winds made for a lengthy whiteout, preventing a summit attempt and pinning Dupre in his snow trench measuring 3 feet high by 3 feet wide by 6 feet long.

That's where he was when Saturday's earthquake hit.

"He thought he was going to be buried alive", Surprenant said. "At first he thought it was a crevasse opening up. He said it scared the crap out of him.

"He thought the ground was going to open up or the walls of his snow trench would start falling in or the roof would fall in."

Surprenant says Dupre's plan is to regroup before deciding his next step.

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